Let me start off by saying I love Shang-Chi. Any issues I have with the casting (hello Hollywood, the Asian community has more than one actress! Feel free to use them!) is overshadowed by the excellent choices of Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh, who my kids take every opportunity to remind me that she once kicked Jackie Chan’s butt.
That being said, there’s something that has been gnawing at me for awhile. And considering the number of times I’ve watched this movie, my resentment about it continues to grow until I’ve reached the point that I must write about it.
I will stay silenced no longer.
I hate Shang-Chi’s outfit.
How is it in a village where everyone is impeccably dressed in beautiful robes or flowing tops and bottoms (to allow for movement when fighting), Shang-Chi and his sister end up in these awkwardly tight, generic tops with…plain black pants? Are you serious???
This movie spent MILLIONS on CGI to create realistic dragons and other magical creatures. It has incredible stunts and big name stars. It weaves great storytelling and infuses Mandarin language and Chinese culture into every aspect of it. And then…just slaps the top half of a qipao onto each of them and calls it a day????
It honestly looks like some Disney marketing executive walked into the room and insisted the outfits be easily merchandised, combined with some weird aversion to little boys wearing anything flowy in the name of toxic masculinity even though Captain America literally wears spandex from head to toe.
Seriously. What is the excuse for giving a goddamn SUPERHERO only HALF an outfit? You think it’s a coincidence all his pictures only show the top half of him?? Why wouldn’t his entire outfit be made of dragon scales, similar to Black Panther’s suit? Why is there no headpiece? Why is there literally no ornamentation other than the rings themselves? He could very well be wearing pajamas and we’d probably have the same effect.
Now. Before I get a flood of hate mail about how this is staying true to the comics, blah, blah, blah, whatever. Yes. I know. But they already took liberties from the comics outfit to the real people outfit–why not take a few more? Are we really going to pretend every single big screen adaptation of a character has been completely faithful to its original iteration?
And besides, if we’re really going to go that route, I’m pretty sure the original outfit doesn’t even have sleeves. So.
The best I can hope for at this point is a do-over in the sequel, similar to the X-Men changing Halle Berry’s wig every single movie and simply never addressing it. I’m sure it’s too much to hope for, but what can I say? I’m an optimist.